Monthly Archives: July 2019

Books Acquired Recently

Cruz, Nicky, with Jamie Buckingham. Run Baby Run. 1968. Newberry, FL: Bridge-Logos, 2016.

Wilkerson, David, with John Sherrill and Elizabeth Sherrill. The Cross and the Switchblade. 1962. New York: Jove Books, 1977.

Mennonites like to play what is known as the “Mennonite Game” whenever we meet a Mennonite whom we haven’t met before. We try to figure out how we are connected to them via mutual acquaintances. This often involves hearing their last name and asking, “Oh, are you related to (person with same last name that the person asking the question knows)?” “Cruz” is not an ethnic Mennonite name, but many Mennonites of a certain generation still know it because of Nicky Cruz’s and David Wilkerson’s memoirs about converting gang members from New York City to Christianity. So members of my family used to frequently be asked “Are you related to Nicky Cruz?” The answer is no. Cruz is about as common a name as “Smith” is, but most white Mennonites don’t realize that. I am doing some writing about my family’s Mennonite history, including my father’s experiences as a non-ethnic Mennonite, and decided that I should actually read Cruz’s and Wilkerson’s books to help me understand why they were popular with Mennonites in the 1960s and 1970s.

Miller Shearer, Tobin. Two Weeks Every Summer: Fresh Air Children and the Problem of Race in America. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2017.

Miller Shearer was one of my youth group advisers in high school before he went back to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in history. The Fresh Air program is one that many rural Mennonites have participated in, hosting children from cities (including some Mennonites) for several weeks in the summer. I heard adults talk about it all the time when I was a kid, so I look forward to reading his history of it.

Witwer, Michael, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer. Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History. Ten Speed Press, 2018.

As a result of my new Dungeons & Dragons obsession, I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about its history. I found this huge book about the game’s visuals on sale for $31.00 (the cover price is $50.00) and decided to buy it.

I purchased all four books from amazon.com because I had a gift card.

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Books Acquired Recently: Inscribed Copies Edition

Coffman, Lisa. Less Obvious Gods. Oak Ridge, TN: Iris Press, 2013.

I recently read Coffman’s first poetry collection, Likely, and loved it, so I decided to order her second book. I bought an inscribed copy directly from her website.

Kraybill, Donald B. Eastern Mennonite University: A Century of Countercultural Education. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2017.

I am enough of a Mennonite history buff and my mother’s family has enough connections to Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) that I decided to buy this book after it got a good review in the July 2019 Mennonite Quarterly Review even though I am an alumnus of EMU’s rival, Goshen College. I thought about buying it directly from Penn State Press because they are also my publisher but it is $40.00 new, so I found a used copy for $22.00 on abebooks.com. It was inscribed by Kraybill to a Mark Lehman (who is probably a distant cousin of mine because my grandmother was a Lehman, haha) on 14 October 2017. I always wonder about the ownership histories of used books that I buy, and I am especially intrigued by this one. Why did Lehman get rid of the book so quickly (after less than two years!)? Did he die? Did he decide to become a missionary and thus needed to get rid of most of his possessions? Did he just think the book was terrible (for the record, I am already about a third of the way through it and am enjoying it thus far)? I will probably never know the answer, but the mystery makes me like the book more as an object.

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Books Acquired Recently

Ali, Agha Shahid. A Nostalgist’s Map of America. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.

I ordered this book after encountering an excerpt of one of its poems in Gayatri Gopinath’s Unruly Visions. I am always interested in investigating the work of queer authors whom I haven’t read before.

Ewalt, David M. Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. New York: Scribner, 2014.

A group of friends and I have begun playing D&D over the past six months or so and I am becoming more and more obsessed with it. I decided to order this history of the game to help me gain a better understanding of its roots.

Myles, Eileen, and Liz Kotz, eds. The New Fuck You: Adventures in Lesbian Reading. South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 1995.

I recently read about this anthology in Maggie Nelson’s book about women and the New York School of poets and decided to buy it because how could I not buy a queer book called The New Fuck You? I began reading it this weekend and the work–a mix of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction–is excellent thus far.

All three books were ordered from amazon.com.

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